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Defining the Term
Responsible Pet Ownership
Responsible Pet Owner Column
Published in Pug Talk Magazine, May/June 2008

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How do you define Responsible Pet Ownership?

By examining each word we understand that Responsibility refers to the quality or state
of being responsible morally, legally and with mental accountability.*  

Pet is used to describe domestic animals kept for pleasure as well as the pampered,
spoiled child or someone who is treated with unusual kindness and consideration.*

An Owner is described as, individuals who want control and mastery over.*

Perhaps with the above definitions a Responsible Pet Owner is:
An individual who is
responsible morally, legally and with mental accountability to a domestic animal where
they maintain complete control and mastery over pampering, spoiling and treating
their pet with unusual kindness and consideration.

Is moral and legal obligation, pampering and kindness enough to make someone a
Responsible Pet Owner?

The unusual acts of kindness and love, that our pets shower on us, and we return to
them, can create the bond that drives people into wanting to become Responsible Pet

Focusing on that loving bond and nurturing it is the secret.  Love fosters a feeling of
commitment and sharing heartfelt kindness and emotions compels us to want to care
for those we love.

Becoming a Responsible Pet Owner is a journey.  With all new experiences, we begin
with awkward steps, learn and then grow.

Embarking on the quest of discovering what our responsibilities are is less daunting
when we find mentor’s who willingly share their stories, advice and experiences with

A Pet Mentor helps us embrace our journey and acts as a role model and guide to
understanding that it’s not enough for us to own our pets, rather we need to learn to
own the responsibility of our pet’s lives.

Our greatest teachers will always be our pets.  They tolerate us on all levels and love
us unconditionally.  We learn to love them back—unconditionally too.

It’s in the quiet, cozy and intimate moments when we learn the most from our pets.  We
watch, listen and feel the inner peace and joy that our hearts share with them and
know—we belong to them.  

Domesticated companion animals rely on their owners to make and maintain the
commitment necessary to love them for a lifetime.  Pets depend on us as their owners
to master and take care of their health and emotional needs and trust us when we
promise them a forever family and home.      

Being a Responsible Pet Owner can be defined in various ways by many people.  
However anyone chooses to describe it—Commitment, Responsibility and Love will
always be the cornerstones of Responsible Pet Ownership.

We contacted a few friends of the Responsible Pet Owner’s online community and Ask
Aunt Martha... and asked them to describe (in one sentence) what being a responsible
pet owner means to them.  Here’s what they had to say...  

    Being a responsible pet owner means taking a vow much like those we take in
    marriage.  Responsible pet owners must honor their promise to love, care for
    and protect their pets for better or worse, in sickness and in health.  All
    relationships bring with them difficult times.  Owning a pet means being
    prepared to honor your promise wherever it may take you.
    - Teresa Bottom of Lifebridge for Animals, and Schatzie her pug, Shelbyville,

    A responsible pet owner not only cares about their pets lives, but also about the
    lives that their pet impacts, working to make each interaction as positive as
    - Amanda Buchanan (Doogal & Stella) Garner NC.

    - The definition of a responsible pet owner is one who gets their pets spayed
    and neutered, provides proper medical care, fresh food and water daily,
    provides safe, proper treatments against fleas and ticks, provides adequate
    shelter, fenced in yards or escape-proof enclosures,does not allow their pet out
    loose to roam, provides love and playtime, attaches proper identification to their
    pet (microchip, I.D. tag on collar,) teaches their children how to treat animals
    with gentle kindness and patience, does not support breeding mills but instead
    adopts unwanted, abandoned, abused shelter pets, and keeps their pets happy
    and comfortable to the end and does not get rid of their pet because it is sick or
    old, apet owner treats their pets as one of their own, treats them as family.  
    - P.A,Zack and Sprite (two rescued Amazon Parrots) and Justin (adopted kitty
    cat) Anaheim, CA.

    Being a responsible pet owner to me means:  Loving unconditionally through
    the late night potty breaks, the endless vacuuming, finding the missing shoe,
    only to find it half eaten, muddy floors,  never ending kisses, a friend for life, and
    a face you can't wait to see when your coming through the front door and they
    feel the same way no matter how long you were gone!
    - Allie Klunk, owner of 3 Pug dogs, Gertie, Polly, and Ernie Manchester, PA.

    A responsible pet owner puts before themselves the care and well being of
    their pet.
    - Nancy Morin, owned by: Toeby, Lola & Otis (Pugs) and Zoe (Pom) Street,

    To give your pet as much love and enjoyment as they give to you, I treat my
    pets like they are children, probably (no I’m sure) better than some children are
    treated in this world!
    - Lisa Kerner of Luv Pug Greetings, Rose, Herbie, Pinky, Porky, Ruby, Rio and
    in Loving Memory of George (My Pugs) Delta, PA.

*Source: Merriam-Webster Online      Dictionary(www.merriam-webster.com)

Donald and Sara Hassler are co-authors of the award-winning children’s book, Loving
, and reside in Connecticut with Marley and Belle the real-life inspiration for the
PugTale Adventures storybooks
www.lovingmarley.com.  The Hasslers are active
members of the press through the Dog Writers Association of America.  For more
information visit them online at

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